Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chicken With Potatoes, Prunes And Pomegranate Molasses

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You will be knocked off your socks when you find out that there's nothing more to this recipe than throwing a few ingredients into a pot and waiting for it to cook. Two hours later you will be marvelling at the genius of Yotam Ottolenghi. Yes I know, I'm one of his groupies and after this dish I will follow him blindly to the end of the earth!

To begin with, there's no fat.  Take it from me, I read through the ingredients twice, There's no browning of the chicken either.  A few of my regular readers who watch their waistline like a hawk will like that.  What did it for me, though, was the one-pot dish...talk about minimizing the clean-up!





I really don't know what made me take a plunge and make this recipe.  It must have been the simplicity of it all.  I do try to keep things low key during the week, seeing that my life has so drastically changed in the last few months.  What I never expected was what came out  two hours later.  It was a masterpiece and worthy of serving to your most distinguished guests.  Let's just say that Madame Mere cleaned her plate and she does not go for the exotic at this stage of her life.  

That being said, here are a few steps that I suggest you follow.  First, if you are using a large Le Creuset pot or cocotte, it is easier to work with legs and thighs separately.  They don't need to fit in one layer, but they are easier to maneuver.  Just throw them in and let them fall where they will.  Do not buy skinless.  People! this is the only fat in this dish! you can remove the skin later, if you must, after you have been served.  Without the skin you won't get that color and the chicken pieces may not come out as juicy as they are meant to.





I bought the small lgolden potatoes, called honey potatoes.  I don't think it much matters which ones you get as long as they are small and yellow,  but I would peel them.  I didn't do it thinking the skin was so thin I could get away with it;  but I think the skin prevents them from absorbing some of the flavors.

I obviously could not find pomegranate molasses in my little town in Georgia but I read that it is very similar to balsamic vinegar and that was what I used.  You can find it on Amazon or you can make your own.  I have placed an order and will definitely use it next time as I hear it is fantastic on marinades and sauces.

The top photo of this dish is by Colin Campbell for the Ottolenghi website., The rest are mine.  You know I'm just a cook with a little camera, not a photographer with fancy equipment.  The reason I put his up on top is to show you that, when compared to my results, one gets exact ly as promised.  No fancy camera work in mine, just point and shoot.

Although Ottolenghi suggests crusty bread and a salad to accompany, I couldn't resist the white rice with a simple salad on the side. It's up to you, bread or rice.

For the amount of work involved, the depth of flavor in this recipe is remarkable.  It is the work of a genius. Just take a leap of faith with me and make it, just the way it says.  You will be amazed at the results and may even become an Ottolenghi groupie together with Madame Mere and me! 






 Ingredients

 Serves four generously (It really serves 6!)


8 whole chicken legs (ie, each with a drumstick and a thigh; 2kg in all)
16 medium charlotte potatoes, peeled (about 800g net)
3 large onions, peeled and quartered
120g/ 1/2 cup pitted prunes 
30g/ 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
100ml/ 6 TB soy sauce
90ml/ 3 oz pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp maple syrup 
120g/4 oz sweet mango chutney
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
20g oregano sprigs, plus a few picked leaves to garnish

Method

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then tip into a large casserole dish. Cover with a lid (or thick foil), and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 180C/350F/gas mark 4, and cook for two hours longer, stirring every now and then.

When the time is up, remove the dish from the oven, stir once more, cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes, to rest and allow the flavours to mingle. Garnish with a few oregano leaves, and serve with a sharp green salad and some good bread to mop up the lovely juices.
       

12 comments:

  1. Welllllllllllllll, this looks and sounds unbelievably delicious. Always looking for really good chicken dishes. I will take the leap of faith and try this sometime this week. Thanks for sharing.

    Carolyn

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    Replies
    1. You will like it, Carolyn. I promise.

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  2. A simply stunning dish - wow. I am very impressed & love the prunes in it. I too have searched high and low around here for pomegranate molasses with absolutely no luck. I finally found it on Amazon & placed a bottle on my wish list for the next time I order something. However I didn't realize you could substitute balsamic vinegar. When you substituted the balsamic vinegar, did you use the same amount of it as you would the pom molasses?

    A real winner.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I used 3 ounces. Make sure when you order it is the molasses not the sauce. Amazon sent me the sauce in spite of the fact i had ordered the molasses. im almost tempted to make it!

      Delete
  3. With all those sweet ingredient, this is really a variation of traditional chicken tzimmes. I made something very like this a while ago, but added sweet potatoes. I also don't have pomegranate molasses (which seems to be called for everywhere these days) but I think your substitution of balsamic vinegar is inspired, because its sharpness will help cut some of the sweetness in the recipe.
    --Jim
    (PS There is a joke in there somewhere about Dahlonega golden potatoes vs. the Charlotte ones. Of course, in Taiwan, you are lucky to get any potatoes, let alone specifying which variety.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazingly, it does not come out that sweet. and remember pomegranate is not that sweet either, the term molasses is really a reduction of the juice with very little sugar.

      You do know I live near Dahlonega, no?!

      Delete
  4. this looks so Moroccan.. and the white rice, well, it's the Cuban blood in you. Try saffron
    in your water when you make the white rice. Nice! Sel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saffron rice is the best but think you will find enough going on in the chicken so as not to want to rock the boat. thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  5. I think Ottolenghi is a genius, don't you? Beautiful dish that's simple to make. I am doing it this week for sure because I love all the flavors in it -- maybe just a pinch of hot pepper too!

    ReplyDelete
  6. He's at the top of my list right now. let me know how you like it.

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  7. Hi, quick question - for the two-hour cook did you cover or uncover the dish?

    ReplyDelete

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